Decades of research on risk perception can help us understand the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol

Catherine Buni & Soraya Chemaly in Undark:

Although it is certainly true that Trump maintains a significant following among White women, his most fervent supporters tend to be White and male. Distributed across a wide swath of socioeconomic status, these men have unwaveringly — and even violently — supported the president, despite the historic risks his administration poses to public health, safety, and American democratic structures and ideals. No shortage of pundits and prognosticators have speculated about the factors underlying this support: Racism? The economyFragile masculinityClass anxiety? Political fear? Sectarianism? In a New York Times op-ed last October, Michael Sokolove suggested that the political gulf between White men and just about everyone else should be dubbed “the White male gap” or “the White male problem.”

But cognitive scientists long ago coined a term for the psychological forces that have given rise to the gendered and racialized political divide that we’re seeing today. That research, and decades of subsequent scholarly work, suggest that if you want to understand the Trump phenomenon, you’d do well to first understand the science of risk perception.

More here.